The custom of hanging a Christmas stocking over the fireplace on Christmas Eve possibly originated in Holland.
Children in Holland would place their wooden shoes next to the the fireplace on December 5th. They would fill the shoes with straw for the white horse or reindeer that carried the gifts and food for St. Nicholas or Sinterklass. In return, they hoped to find treats left in the shoes, the next morning.
The custom spread to Britain where the wooden shoes were replaced with stockings, pillow cases or sacks.
In the 20th century with the popularity of Father Christmas or Santa Claus growing, children across Europe and North American continued the tradition.
The first mention of Christmas stockings being hung from a chimney was from German-American illustrator, Thomas Nast, through his pictures and the writer, George Webster, in a story about a visit from Santa Claus.